Beaches, Speedos and Shark Bait

   Written by on September 24, 2015 at 11:53 am
The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

We just spent a glorious week at the beach. This brings me to my annual campaign to have all swimmers being required by law to cover a certain percentage of skin. Some bodies, mine included, should NEVER be allowed in public without substantial covering. An elderly gentleman walked by wearing a Speedo, no wait, no gentleman would wear a suit like that in public.
This man was apparently desperately trying to pretend that he is still young and attractive. He was tanned, had a gold chain and his graying ponytail emerged from his balding scalp. We call this style of hairdo a despera-doo. His desperate attempt would have been more effective if the Speedo had not been baggy. There is probably a market for inflatable Speedos or maybe they could be designed to carry car keys, wallets and a spare pair of socks.
The week before last, a child was bitten by a shark while playing in the ocean. The news reports indicated it was a “small sand shark.” Does this make any difference to you? Small and sand don’t change the shark thing. For those of us who saw Jaws, a shark is a shark. Even now, I can hear the “dun-nunt dun-unt” music any time someone says shark.
I wondered why more people are being bitten and discovered the answer. There are three reasons: more people in the ocean, reporting of bites is better and until about 20 years ago shark bites were reported as fish bites. Nobody was ever bitten by a shark, just a fish. Makes me feel better, how about you?
We were advised to avoid the ocean when sharks are feeding. Sounds good to me. It would sound better if it included a meal schedule. Somehow, I can’t see a shark acting like my grandmother. “Dinner is served promptly at seven, no snacking between meals.” To me, sharks seem more like teenage humans and are on a see food diet. If they see food, they eat it. I suspect sharks are the same.
I discovered that when swimming in the ocean, humming the theme music to Jaws will cause other swimmers to leave the water. This was fun until I realized this left me as the only available snack. This resulted in plan “B.” To be safe from shark bites, you should select a group of small people, preferably unrelated by blood or friendship and swim in the center of the group. If one of them suddenly vanishes, return to shore.
One day we were walking to the beach and Management advised me to wear shoes. Shoes were one of her first Averett improvement projects. I hate shoes. The beach is one of the few places I can barefoot and no one cares. Management, of course, was right again. It was a hot day and halfway to the water the sand was painfully hot. I had three options. One was to retreat to the house and get shoes, another was to dance in place on the sand until I fell exhausted to the ground where I would shrivel like a raisin, or I could run to the water. I chose option three. This was a poor long-term choice. Although I could blissfully cool my scorched tootsies in the ocean, I now had a 200-foot expanse of hot sand to cross before I could escape.
I was again faced with three choices: remain in the water where I would sunburn until I resembled a hairy tomato, re-cross the beach permanently damaging my feet and my dignity, or wrap my feet in towels which would certainly damage my dignity and the incident would be permanently recorded in the family archives of funny stories.
A sibling kindly brought me a pair of flop flips. I have seen many people wear these things but had never tried them. They are almost as undignified as the towels. Maybe the sibling wasn’t being kind after all.

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